New to nursing on the go? Try these tips to make breastfeeding your baby in public comfortable for everyone…
Breasts are celebrated on screen and in magazines – but they can still be a tough sell when they’re being used to feed a baby in public. While breastfeeding in public is becoming more accepted, it still seems to attract a lot more attention (sometimes negative) than bottle-feeding.
As a breastfeeding mom myself, I have often felt the need to ‘hide’ when breastfeeding my son (whether in a public bathroom – yuck! Or the backseat of my stuffy car). I have also had many experiences that have left me fumbling, flustered and vowing never to leave the house again. Or at least until my breasts became my own again.
But, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from nursing my son, it’s to hang up any hangups I have about breastfeeding in public. There’s nothing shameful or wrong with feeding your baby – and if a bottle-fed baby can drink in public, why shouldn’t a breastfed baby be given the same rights?
It’s not always easy, and there will almost always be the judgemental stare or accidental nip slip (oops!), but my advice for moms who are new to nursing on the go is to dress the part, throw in a few practice rounds, flash a smile, and do what’s best for your baby!
Here are a few more ways to get it right:
Breastfeeding in public: 5 Ways to get it right
1. Practise at home
Trying to wrangle a squishy, hangry baby into a comfy position (and get him to latch on correctly) while covering up is actually really hard. Add an audience, and it’s enough to fluster even the most confident breastfeeding mom.
Practising the whole rigmarole of covering up, positioning and latching baby at home a few times before venturing out in public will help you figure out what works for you and your baby – and boost your confidence!
2. Dress the part
This tip is easy to follow…
Polo necks = BAD
Button-down shirts, zip hoodies, loose fitting tees = GOOD.
You should be able to lift up, button down or pull to the side any top that you’re wearing.
3. Invest in a comfy cover
If you feel really uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, or you find yourself in an overly-crowded restaurant (where it’s just considered good etiquette to nurse as discreetly as possible), you may want to try covering up with a nursing/breastfeeding cover (I personally love this one, as it doubles up as a trendy stroller cover).
A cover not only offers privacy but also helps shut out overstimulating sights and sounds – which allows baby to focus on nursing.
Disclaimer: Some babies hate being covered – and will spend a good chunk of their nursing session trying to pull the cover off. If this is your baby, then ignore this tip.
4. Choose your spot
It’s Murphy’s Law:The minute you sit down at a restaurant, your baby will want to nurse.
So, when arriving at a restaurant, you might as well choose a spot where you can sit comfortably – whether you cover up or not. Corner booths are usually a winner – and I’ll explain why in the next tip…
5. Turn away to latch
Latching a baby is probably the most complicated breastfeeding step – especially in those newborn days…
When choosing a spot to eat in a restaurant, I always pick a corner booth/table next to a wall, so that when the time comes to latch my baby, I can turn and face the wall. That way, if I have to re-adjust baby’s positioning I can do so without exposing myself to the entire restaurant. When I’m done and I can hear/feel that baby is actively nursing, I turn back to the table. I usually do the same to unlatch my baby.
And, don’t forget to smile…
If you notice a frown or disapproving look, flash a smile. At the end of the day, you are doing what’s best for your baby – and that’s nothing to be ashamed about!